“If fundamentalism means adhering to the fundamentals of one’s doctrine, then I am proud to be a Muslim fundamentalist,” said Fariq Naik at the Islamic Peace Conference on Sunday.
The 15-year-old, a Class 8 student of Mumbai’s Islamic International School, was the youngest speaker at the 10-day peace conference at Somaiya ground in Sion that began in the city on Friday.
Fariq added that Islam does not have a single fundamental that goes against humanity.
Having memorised the Quran by the age of 13, he spoke in a style and tone strongly reminiscent of the speeches of his father Dr Zakir Naik, an Islamic scholar and orator.
According to his lecture on the misconceptions about Islam, the media all over the world has played a very prominent role in propagating a negative image of Muslims as fundamentalists and terrorists. “Once the media creates a certain picture, it is very difficult to erase it,” he said.
Unlike one-sided media portrayals, terrorism is a matter of perspective, Fariq said. “For the British rulers, our freedom fighters were like terrorists. I would say every Muslim must be a terrorist to the anti-social elements of society.”
The interpretation of jihad as 'holy war', however, ranked the highest among his list of myths that non-Muslims hold about Islam. “Jihad actually translates as a struggle, often against one’s own evil inclinations, and also against any kind of oppression,” he said.